Four recent employer-led initiatives bridge the gap between education and employment, drawing Maine people of all ages toward high-demand occupations that match their interests and passions.
With today’s rapid pace of technological and economic change, the skills gap is widening worldwide. People need new skills to succeed in the changing economy, and organizations can’t find the talent they need to grow and thrive. Governments and nonprofits are on the front lines of efforts to close this gap. Continue reading “Talent Development and the Future of Work”
For some time, we’ve been envisioning the next phase of learning in Maine. We’ve met a number of times, in different places, to try to capture our vision of the future of education. And we’ve done this while being surrounded by the pervasive disruption of our familiar ways of educating students. Continue reading “The Future of Learning in Maine”
I was fortunate to attend CultureCon in Boston, which focused on designing workgroup practices that embrace agile, nimble learning. This is the world into which our students will be growing. Continue reading “Designing an Agile Learning Culture for Teams and Organizations”
To illustrate learner-centered instruction in action, the Maine Department of Education funded a series of videos focusing on students and teachers at schools that are leading the way. Continue reading “Toward Learner-centered Education in Maine”
For my 9-year-old daughter, knowledge is at her fingertips, her interests are becoming a primary frame for learning both in school and out. Continue reading “Learning in a Wisdom Economy”
I was honored to make a keynote presentation at British Columbia’s first IT4K12 conference in Vancouver. I met education technology leaders who are working toward a learner-centered education system, and several demonstrated inspiring successes. Continue reading “Toward Learner-centered Education in Canada”
Some years back, Julia Alarez wrote an ode to living in small towns and to the sorrow of losing acquaintances: neighbors, friends, storekeepers, doctors.
In a small town … we don’t just make quick, specialized appearances in each other’s lives. For better or worse, we get to know people in a fuller way. The owner of the orchard where we pick apples is also our doctor, and the local bartender fixes our bicycle chain when it slips out on a country road.
This is good for all our characters, I think, for the flawed person we see in one situation can suddenly surprise us by a small act of kindness or thoughtfulness in another encounter. Small towns give us second chances, and third and fourth ones, too. [Source]
Once or twice a week, I spend early mornings in our town’s natural-food-and-free-wireless coffee shop working on project planning and correspondence. Over the months, I’ve gotten to know a few regulars — folks who work nearby, retired professors, college students — and listened to bits of stories about their lives and what’s important to them.
Over the past month, I’ve been busy on a project and haven’t gotten into town very often, so this morning, when I noticed I hadn’t seen one of the regulars, I asked where he was. “Oh, Gustavo. I’m sorry to let you know he died in his sleep several weeks ago.”
All of my thoughts — about what needed to get done this morning, about my pending deadlines, about the beautiful day I was looking forward to — evaporated completely. Someone I’d known, not as a friend, but certainly well enough to know his life story and what had brought him here … he was gone.
How could I not have known? I read the local paper every day. How did I miss his obituary? Have I been that busy? Did he mean more to me that I’d thought? Had I taken his presence for granted?
I found the obituary and tributes online — please read about this good man — and there they were, in black and white: the stories he’d told us. I haven’t wept in public for a long time. This morning, I did.
I could write about the art collection he curated at home and the beloved pieces he chose to sell at Cabot Antiques. I could share his frustration with the insulated, disconnected culture of middle-America, and its affect on our children as well as people around the world. I could tell you about his continuing struggle to get treatment for his asthma and sinus infections as a person dependent on the threadbare safety net for our elders. I could tell about his plans to sign up for yet another trip to some corner of the world that would be new to him.
Instead, I’ll quote this passage about his engagement with the world, both nearby and far beyond us.
made the coffee shop in the Tontine Mall his own Madrid cafe and met there nearly every day with a circle of friends, exchanging ideas and arguing issues. He supported various causes, local, national and international. But he was also a man who loved exploration away from Maine.
His youthful energy belied his advancing years. He was full of curiosity about life and interested in what was going on in the world. His friends and family followed his world travels to China, South American and Europe through post cards and pictures. [Source]
I sit, looking around the cafe, imagining the loss of any of those with whom I’ve chatted, no matter how briefly, or of those with whom I’ve shared just a warm smile and hello. As I return to my daily routine, I vow to consider each and every one of those moments with more respect, deserving of my full attention, with both friends and with strangers.
I’ll hope I can carry that feeling with me. I think all I’ll need to do is remember Gustavo.
From Niraj Chag:
There was a season when my steps were unwavering
Within me was this ocean
That would repair and cure me of all my pains
But at the passing of time
I am no longer certain of my hearts integrity
The days of my youth
Now only an abstract memory
From Gideon Rosenblatt – via Idealware and Groundwire:
Civic engagement can mean a lot of different things – from the casual forwarding of a friend’s email to deep involvement on a board of directors. Some engagement is lightweight and some is deep, and that’s OK – we can’t expect everyone to have the same degree of interest in our mission.
In fact, having a mix of people with varying levels of interest and engagement is actually a good thing. Why? Because being effective at social change means being able to choose from a portfolio of strategies and tactics in a way that best maps to the specific conditions we’re facing at any given moment. Sometimes that’s lightweight communications from lots of people; sometimes is a well-timed phone call from a carefully cultivated relationship with a community leader.
The most effective social change organizations understand how to wield their portfolio of engagement tactics in Zen-like fashion; knowing just what kind of touch is called for to influence the outcomes of a particular decision. They also know how to meet people where they are at, and craft their calls to action appropriately so as to match the specific level of interest and commitment from each person they ask. These organizations also tend to have good processes for stewarding people toward ever higher levels of engagement in their mission.
- Excerpts from Idealware